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Nigel Lythgoe confirms he's leaving 'American Idol' producer position


By Christopher Rocchio, 08/05/2008 

Nigel Lythgoe has confirmed he will be stepping down as American Idol's executive producer after previously serving in that role for all of the Fox mega-hit's first seven seasons.

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"I will step back from my day-to-day producing work on American Idol," Lythgoe told TV Week in a Monday report.

Instead of being heavily involved in Idol's currently ongoing eighth-season audition process, Lythgoe says he'll be devoting his time "to a new venture with Simon Fuller."  Fuller created Idol, which his 19 Entertainment company co-produces with FremantleMedia North America.  Lythgoe has worked for 19 Entertainment since 2001 and currently serves as president of the company's 19 Television division.

In addition, Lythgoe -- who also co-created Fox's So You Think You Can Dance with Fuller -- said he plans on bringing the Idol-like dance competition to other countries.

"My summer will be taken up by travels to South Africa, Australia and Canada to work on local versions of the show," Lythgoe told TV Week.

Fox also confirmed Lythgoe would be leaving his Idol producing post and focusing on So You Think You Can Dance.

"While we are disappointed that he will no longer be executive producing American Idol, we are pleased to continue working with him on So You Think You Can Dance and look forward to working with him on his new projects," Fox said in a statement, according to TV Week.

Lythgoe and Fox were responding to a Monday report by TMZ.com that stated he had decided against executive producing Idol's eighth season partly because he was "not passionate about it anymore."

The report also prompted a denial from 19 Entertainment.

"Contrary to online rumors, producer Nigel Lythgoe is not leaving 19 Entertainment," 19 Entertainment's statement declared -- even though the "online rumors" never stated Lythgoe was leaving 19.

"[He] is currently negotiating a new deal with 19 to begin a new joint venture with Simon Fuller," the statement said, according to TV Week.

Lythgoe's replacement has not been announced. 

(Photo credit Fox)


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